CHILE TRAVEL GUIDE

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INTRODUCTION

The land of Pablo Neruda and Isabella Allende, Chile is a total experience – nature and adventure rolled into one. There is so much packed into this string bean of a country - the urban boulevards and the bustle of Santiago, the Andean foothills and the Atacama Desert, the Pacific coastline and the National Parks, the guanaco and the glaciers. The Europeans have populated this country with vigour but the warm and resilient people of Chile have stuck to their traditions, especially in the Andean foothills.

 

Enjoy a trek and go spotting the amazing guanaco in its National Parks, indulge in the bright blue of the Pacific, the intense brown of the Andes and the Atacama and the pearly whites of the glaciers in Southern Chile.

COVID-19 TRAVEL STATUS

Updated:

Chile has restricted entry to all travelers except for citizens, residents, diplomats, humanitarian aid workers, travelers with an official ID from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Chile, or travelers with safe conduct.Arriving travelers must submit an online affidavit and submit it before departure at https://www.c19.cl/formularios.html". They will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.

 

TRAVEL ADVISORY

LOCATION MAP

Chile

America - South

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QUICK FACTS

  • Capital: Santiago
  • Currency: Chilean Peso (CLP)
  • Area: 756,102 km²
  • Population: 18,734,200 (2018 estimate)
  • Language: Spanish
  • Religion: Roman Catholic 70%, Protestant 15.1%, None 8.3%
  • Electricity: 220V, 50Hz (type C & L plugs)

 

Chile has the distinction of being the longest country in the world as also the narrowest - it is 4300 km long and just 175 km wide.

 

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CHILE

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

  • 1 May, Labor Day
  • 21 May, Battle of Iquique
  • 15 August, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
  • 18 September, Independence Day
  • 19 September, Armed Forces Day
  • 12 October, Día de la Raza
  • 1 November, All Saints Day
  • 8 December, Immaculate Conception
  • 31 December, Bank Holiday

Also, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Corpus Christi.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

Due to the geography of the country, the seasons in Chile incredibly diverse. Depending on the region you wish to visit and the activities that you're after, the best time for different regions is restricted to a particular season. Chile experiences mostly dry southern hemisphere summers between November and January and wet winters between May and August. Chile’s climate can range from tropical in the North, the Mediterranean in the centre, and Antarctic (antiboreal oceanic) in the South with unique regional climates like the arid Atacama Desert or the high peaks of the Andean mountains.

 

If you want to pay Torres del Paine or Lake District a visit, the ideal time to do so would be during the summer months of December through March, which is also the high tourist season in all of Chile. Festivals and events during these months are plentiful but endure to make your reservations well in advance or you’ll be most likely left stranded with limited or very expensive options.

 

If you want to explore Northern Altiplano, summer is the wet season in this region, with monsoon rain spoiling most afternoons throughout the season. Winters from June-September is a great time for skiing.

 

Spring (late September-November) and autumn (March-May) is also a fantastic time to plan your Chilean trip as the weather is pleasant in almost all cities of the country and you will get the cheapest of prices on hotels and flights.

 

While places like the Atacama Desert can be visited throughout the year, the autumn month of March is the ideal time to visit Easter Islands and the Juan Fernandez Archipelago.

 
Chile

TOURIST SEASONS

Most destinations have different times of the year when they’re more or less popular with tourists. 

Peak Season

Shoulder Season

Off Peak Season

JANUARY

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FEBRUARY

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MARCH

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APRIL

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MAY

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JUNE

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JULY

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AUGUST

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SEPTEMBER

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OCTOBER

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NOVEMBER

HOT

COLD
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DECEMBER

HOT

COLD
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WET

 

SPORT & ACTIVITIES

SNOW:

The ski season in Chile starts in June and continues to October. The best skiing conditions are from mid July to early September and the busiest month is July.

HIKE & CYCLE:

While in central Chile you can enjoy outdoor activities all the way from September until June, the months of November to March are the best time, especially south of Copiapó.

BEACH:

The most popular time to visit the beautiful Pacific coast beaches of Chile is during the summer, from December to February. March and November will be cooler but still pleasant.

WIND:

The most consistent and best winds in Chile for kitesurfing are from September to March. Check out the following spots: Matanzas village, Roca Cuadrada, Pupuya and La Boca.

For more details on kite surfing in Chile expand this section!

SURFING:

Chile is an incredible all year round surfing destination, boasting an average of 300 days of surf per year, although most would choose to avoid the cold winter months of June, July and August.

 

LGBTQ

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights in Chile have seen remarkable advances in recent years. Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Chile and since 2012, the law bans all discrimination and hate crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Since 22 October 2015, same-sex couples have the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples, within a civil union. On 15 January 2020, the same-sex marriage bill was approved at its first reading in the Senate by 22 votes to 16, and has now gone to the Constitutional Committee.

 

Although LGBT people still face some legal and social obstacles not experienced by non-LGBT Chileans, Chile is predominantly LGBTQ accepting and host an annual Gay Pride Parade in Santiago.

 

HEALTH

Be aware of possible health risks in 

Chile

Dengue - Dengue is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito. These mosquitoes bite during the day and night. About one in four people infected with dengue will get sick. For people who get sick with dengue, symptoms can be mild or severe.

For the latest travel health notices and recommended precautions click

TRAVEL COSTS

You can travel all over the country by air or rent a car if you have a valid driver’s license, are 25 years of age and present either a credit card or huge cash deposit. The cheapest vehicles can be hired for US$50 to US$65 a day. Though most taxis are metered, it is suggested that you negotiate the fee in advance. Long distance buses are comfortable and reliable.

 

Chilean buses run on time and tickets must be purchased ahead of time. Fares are reasonable by European or North American standards. Chile is also one of the best countries for hitch hiking.

 

Southbound trains connect Santiago with Tenuco. No national railways operate north of Santiago. In general trains are slow and inconviently and cannot compete with the speed, low fares and punctuality of the buses. Schedules change so it’s best to check an official time table.

 

WHERE TO GO

From the towering heights of the Andes to the beaches along its coastline, Chile offers an outdoor enthusiast everything from skiing and mountain biking to swimming in the blue waters of coastal towns. And if you are a wine aficionado, a trip to the vineyards around Valparaiso is definitely in order, as Chilean wine is renowned the world over.

 

CITIES

Santiago — the capital and largest city of the country.

Concepción — Chile's second largest city.

Iquique — touristic centre in northern Chile.

La Serena — a charming city, with many activities to do in and around it.

Punta Arenas — one of the southernmost cities of the world.

San Pedro de Atacama — visitors come in large numbers to use the town as a stepping stone to the amazing landscapes around it.

Valdivia — the "City of Rivers", rebuilt after the strongest earthquake in history.

Valparaíso — main Chilean port and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Vina del Mar — the principal touristic attraction: beaches, casino and an iconic music festival. 

OTHER DESTINATIONS

Chiloé Island — the largest island of the country.

Laguna San Rafael National Park — includes the San Rafael Glacier, accessible only by boat or plane.

Lauca National Park — the Lago Chungará, one of the world's highest lakes, overseen by the mighty Volcán Parinacota.

Pichilemu — Chile's premier surfing destination.

Robinson Crusoe Island — well known for its jungles and endemic flora.

Torres del Paine National Park — the mountains, lakes and glaciers, including the Towers of Paine.

Valle de Elqui — a wine and pisco producing area, also known for its astronomical observatories.

Valle de la Luna — breathtaking desert landscape with impressive sand dunes and rock formations.

Villarrica — surrounded by lakes and volcanoes

 

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© 2020 Andre & Lisa